In our last post we introduced you to our tiny-but-productive 2015 summer garden and discussed our process, learning experiences and mishaps throughout the past 3 years of attempting this DIY gardening thing. You may have noticed our garden trellis in the final shot, which we recently constructed so that our green beans could climb and thrive without taking over everything else in the garden, which was one of the mistakes we made last year. To recap, in our 2014 summer garden the green beans conquered and strangled the tomato plants, so we ended up with tons of green beans and almost no tomatoes.
We knew we had to step up our game this year, so we did a little brainstorming and a bit of research to come up with a quick, easy, cheap DIY Garden Trellis. She’s not the most beautiful of trellises, but she is sturdy and does her job well which is really all that we require. We’re harvesting green beans and tomatoes almost every day right now, and this is by far the most productive tomato year yet for us which is pretty exciting. Love me some fresh, homegrown tomatoes!
Seriously, thank you trellis for being so awesome and allowing our tiny garden space to be super productive this year. You’ve made all the difference. 😉 Now, without further ado, here’s how to make one yourself!
DIY Garden Trellis Tutorial
- 5 2inX1inX8ft pine planks, or other poles/planks of choice in similar size
- 3 1.5”-2” screws
- synthetic or natural fiber string
- bricks (optional)
- synthetic or natural fiber rope
- t-square (optional)
- drill bits
Step 1: Gather your materials and tools. I encourage you to substitute materials based on your own preferences, budget, and the space you are working with. The above list is simply a guideline so you’ll know the gist of what you need before you get started. I always assess materials that we have on hand before purchasing anything new. We bought some of the materials for our trellis (the pine planks), but everything else is scrap wood and stuff that we found around the house (rope, screws, etc.). Our green bean row is only 6ft wide, so we placed the sides of the trellis 6ft apart, leaving the top support with a 1ft overhang at each end. You’ll want to plan out your own version of the project ahead of time to suit the space you are working with. Keep in mind that the trellis should be 6ft-7ft tall when complete to give your plants plenty of climbing space. We buried the planks 1ft in the ground, so our trellis is 7ft tall and the green beans have already shot up over the top.
Step 2: Measure and mark lines 1ft apart along wide side of 3 of the planks; this is where you will drill the holes that the rope is threaded through. I used a yardstick and pencil to measure and mark dots, then broke out the t-square to make nice straight lines along those marks. That was probably unnecessary, but I wanted to make sure my drill holes were as centered as possible and making straight lines ensures the ropes will be spaced evenly in the end result.
Step 3: With the exception of the bottom line on each of the 3 marked planks, drill holes in center of each line all the way through plank, using a drill bit that makes a hole large enough to thread your selected rope through. I had to redrill all of my holes with a bigger bit because when it was time to thread the rope I found it was too hard to push through, so it’s a good idea to do a test thread with the rope on your first hole to make sure it’s the right size before drilling the rest. Don’t make the holes too much bigger than the rope because you want to be able to stretch it taut and tie simple knots on the ends to hold it all together.
Step 4: Measure and mark lines on wide side of 4th plank which will be used for the top support on the trellis. You want to mark the points where you will attach the 3 base supports. I marked lines 1ft in from each side, with the third line in the very center of the plank.
Step 5: Drill holes, smaller than your screws, all the way through the center of each of the 3 lines you marked. Using screwdriver or drill, attach to top of each of the 3 base planks with screws, lining up the predrilled holes with the center top of each plank.
Step 6: Now that you have your basic structure prepared, you need to dig 3 1ft deep holes, the same distance apart as your 3 base beams, placed where you want your trellis to stand. To work with our space, we placed our trellis outside of the garden fence, a few inches away from the green bean row, and then simply guided the green bean shoots to the trellis when they first started trying to climb. You could also place the trellis directly over top of plants depending on your space. Once your holes are dug, place each of the 3 base beams in the holes and fill back in with dirt, packing tightly as you go. We then placed bricks around base of each beam for added strength, but this is optional.
Step 7: Line up top of 5th plank with middle top of trellis structure and mark on the ground where you need to bury it. This added support ensures that your trellis stands upright and doesn’t start to lean over time. Dig a 1ft hole at your mark and bury end of plank, then fill back in with dirt, packing tightly as you go. Tie top of plank to top middle of trellis structure with string; I used a liberal length of string here and wrapped it several times, tying off tightly to make sure it’s sturdy.
Step 8: Thread lengths of rope through holes in each base beam, using a nail or slim screwdriver as needed to help push rope through. Knot rope ends, using a double or triple knot if needed to keep rope from slipping through. If you are following my measurements, you should end up with 6 rows of rope. And that’s it, simply step back and admire your new trellis which is now ready to provide a home for your climbing plants!